The Wheeling Nailers took the ice on Friday night, as they began a home-and-home series against the Toledo Walleye. Wes O’Neill broke a 2-2 tie late in the second, then tallied again in the third, as the Walleye took the first game, 5-2. lost their first of the home and home series against the Walleye. Wheeling will have a chance to redeem itself Saturday, when they take on the Walleye in Toledo.
The Walleye opened the scoring at the 12:26 mark of the opening period. Cody Lampl gobbled up a loose puck at the right point, and slapped a shot toward the net, that tipped off of a Nailer, before finding its way in. That was the lone goal of the first period, as Toledo took a 1-0 lead to the dressing room.
Kevin Veilleux started off the second with a lightning quick goal, just over a minute in, banging home the rebound of Philippe Lefebvre’s initial shot. Cody Wild also picked up a helper. Almost eleven minutes later, the Walleye regained the lead, with a deflection goal from Randy Rowe, off of a left wing shot from Andrej Nestrasil. Toledo’s lead was short-lived, as the Nailers tied it 69 seconds later. Cody Chupp scored the equalizing goal, crashing the net to tip in Reid McNeill’s shot from the top of the left circle. Paul Crowder earned the second assist on the goal, matching Wild for the team lead with nine points. Unfortunately, the Walleye went on top yet again, as Wes O’Neill redirected Willie Coetzee’s blast from the right point.
O’Neill tallied again, early in the third period, when he extended Toledo’s lead, off of a cross-ice feed from Terry Broadhurst. For O’Neill, it was his fourth goal of the season, and third on the man advantage. Finally, with 53 seconds left to go, the Walleye finished the 5-2 victory, as Luke Glendening notched an empty netter.
Jordan Pearce picked up the win in goal for Toledo, making 23 saves on 25 shots. Patrick Killeen suffered the defeat for Wheeling, stopping 20 of the 24 shots he faced.
The Nailers and Walleye will meet again on Saturday night at 7:05, from Huntington Center. Wheeling’s next home game takes place on November 21st, when they welcome the Evansville IceMen to town for a 7:00 face-off.